Sunday, June 28, 2009
Round Five --- Maribor, Slovenia
Unfortunately I slept through this one, and only got to see the men's and women's podium presentation. There was no surprises with the ladies (all French and one Japanese rider), but when the men walked out, there was a huge surprise with the French rider Fabian Barel. After hurting his knee during the first race in South Africa, he decided to strengthen the knee (as opposed to surgery) in preparation for the second half of the season. That decision turned out to be a good one, as he came back fresh and managed to squeek out a close victory over Sam Hill (< 1 second). Sam was gracious on the podium and was the only rider to take off his hat during the French national anthem.
The MS Evil Team rode strongly with a 7th place (Steve Smith), 8th place (Matti Lehikoinen), and 22nd place (Filip Polc). They really shine on the rough courses like Maribor and Ft William. It will be a long break until the next race in Canada, so hopefully the riders are resting up with the last few races of the summer.